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197.: From [JOHN MACPHERSON] - Adam Smith, Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence Vol. 6 Correspondence of Adam Smith 
Correspondence of Adam Smith, ed. E. C. Mossner and I. S. Ross, vol. VI of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1987).
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From [JOHN MACPHERSON]1
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/157, end missing; Scott 276–8.
Kensington Gore, 28 Nov. 1778
My dear Sir.
I meant to have written you long since, and wished to have communicated some public news, that might have at least amused you as much as a common Advertiser. But tho’ I have been much at the first Source of Intelligence, and tho’ I know almost all that can be known yet have I little to tell you. You perhaps Remember the Speech which I spouted for the Premier2 at your Table at 2 in the morning of the Day I left Edinburgh. It was so well relished, that you would have found from it all the Features of what was afterwards spoken in the House. It was a lucky Coincidence with times and Sentiments.
I had a most ample Discussion with Lord North at Bushy Park on my Return from Scotland. I will get him to do something Essential for the Nabob.3 We went over all India America Scotland and England. I pledged your Authority about importing part of the Dead Treasure of Calcutta.4 He felt the Authority with Respect, but hesitated about a measure so novel. He thought the Treasury of Bengal was a kind of Bank. Finding the necessity of remaining in office he is become more manly and his Speech the first Day of the Session was in a firmer tone than usual. He was inquisitive about your Duke and the Advocate.5 To my astonishment he had all the little History of Edinburgh and in rather a wrong light. It seems you have awaked some new Ideas about improving the Revenue. For he said the absurdity of enforcing the prevention of Contraband Trade in America was evinced from the Difficulties of it in the faithful Kingdom of Scotland, as appeared by late Representations.
Your Letter to the Attorney General6 he spoke of to me with warmth, and I hope to turn it to our mutual Good. I have since dined twice with him, and he is to taste my Magnums at Kensington Gore soon. Of all the Speakers and Men who distinguished themselves on the 26th he shone most and with most Efficacy. I sat near Mr Andrew Stuart and Robinson7 while he was speaking; and we all felt his commanding Superiority. All the gloss Reasoning and prismatic figures in Burkes long Speech, as well as the more solid Vehemence of Foxes harangue he broke down as you would a Pile of glasses with the Sweep of your arm. He covered the Minister by desiring to lay open his Conduct, and he drew the House to the original Motion amidst the firmest conviction of his own Position. Lord North felt the Telamonian Shield as well as the Edge which at once protected him and galled his opponents. This is no Exaggeration, and I believe North for the first time feels Regard where before he had only Respect. I have aided the impression by even an accident. [ ]8
[1 ]The letter has no signature, but the hand was identified by Sir Lewis Namier as that of John Macpherson (c. 1745–1821), Bt. 1786; M.P. 1779–82, 1796–1802. Macpherson was deeply involved in Indian affairs for much of his career, first as servant of the Nawab of Arcot, then as agent in England for the Nawab and Warren Hastings (1777–81), and latterly as member of the Bengal Council. He became Acting Governor of Bengal when Hastings resigned, and his successor in 1786 described Macpherson’s administration as ‘a system of the dirtiest jobbing’. On his return to England in 1787, Macpherson made the acquaintance of the Prince of Wales, whose friendship he enjoyed, and joined the Opposition.
[2 ]Lord North.
[3 ]Warren Hastings.
[4 ]In WN I.xi.h. 2, Smith states that the quantities of silver carried annually to India have reduced the value of that metal in relation to gold and instances depreciation in Calcutta. Perhaps he had suggested to Macpherson that part of Calcutta’s treasury holdings could be imported to Britain during the distresses of the American war without loss of fiscal advantage to Bengal. Smith’s strictures on the East India Company and references to the Calcutta treasury are found in WN I.viii. 26, IV.vii.c. 101–8, and V.i.e. 26.
[5 ]The Duke of Buccleuch and Henry Dundas.
[6 ]Alexander Wedderburn.
[7 ]John Robinson (1727–1802) M.P. 1764–1802; Jt. Secretary to Treasury 1770–82; Surveyor Gen. of Woods and Forests 1786–d. His Treasury work brought him responsibility for the political management of East India Co. affairs, also for a time Irish commercial, legislative, and political management. During North’s Administration he was the Government teller and whip and acted as a liaison with the King’s circle. Subsequently, he supplied political intelligence to Shelburne and Pitt, since he considered that his first loyalty was to the King and the government of the King’s choice (HP iii. 364–6). It is not clear how Macpherson came to be in the House of Commons in 1778 before purchasing a seat in Apr. 1779.
[8 ]The end of the letter is missing.